Ghost bikes are poignant and tragic reminders of a loved life lost. They are placed at locations where a bicycle rider died in a traffic collision. So when one appears at a new location, people notice.
For the past week or so now I’ve been getting messages and phone calls about several such bikes. People have seen them pop up at several locations around north and northeast Portland. So far they’re all children’s bikes, painted entirely bright white. The two things all the bikes have in common are a large peace symbol and plastic doves/birds perched on the handelbars.
In the past few days along they’ve been spotted at: N Cook and Borthwick, N Williams and Multnomah, NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd and Shaver, and N Albina and Prescott (in photos above).
The good and bad news is that these are definitely not ghost bikes.
I’m still trying to track down the person who’s locking these up around town, but until then, here are my guesses about what might be going on:
- This is the work of a grassroots peace activist doing some sort of anti-war campaign.
- Someone is sad and mad about our record high road deaths last year and this is their way of reminding folks to be safe.
- A hater is trolling us just for a prank.
Perhaps this person doesn’t know what white bikes at intersections mean to many of us. Ghost bikes trigger a lot of emotion for very good reason. I personally cannot see a white bike on the street without a strong visceral reaction. Regardless of what this person is doing, I wish they would find a different way — or even just a different color — for their campaign.
If you have any clue about who’s doing this or why, please let me know via email firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to solve the mystery.